Weatherizing open/close door sensors for outdoor gate use


(Ron) #1

I have seen a few suggestions about ‘weatherizing’ current open/close door sensors to use on external gates, but I am wondering if anyone has actually done this in a climate as extreme as Montana. While it sounds like some people are even willing to sacrifice a camera to the elements, I’d rather do this in a more tested way, even for a simple open/close sensor.

The suggestion has been made to enclose the sensor parts in plastic bags, and that’s certainly doable - if it really keeps out the elements (even where the housing screw penetrates the plastic bag?) - and doesn’t confine the odd drop of water inside the bag? Anyone tried a plastic project box (Radio Shack) and have it work for years without moisture/corrosion/short issues?

Certainly use a lithium battery for cold temps, they work great for remote thermometers, but what does that do for z-wave range/battery life in very cold temps?

If this is really this simple, why hasn’t some manufacturer MADE an outdoor-worthy gate sensor when so many of us would use them? There seems to be plenty of tolerance for the magnet-based sensors (over 1/2") to allow for a weatherized housing.

Thanks for your experience!


(Eric) #2

generous vaseline will prevent water, rust and bug intrusion.

I don’t worry about “what if it fails”, I just try it and see, then try something else if necessary. It’s not an costly experiment.

The Zigbee sensors have worked inside the fridge and freezer for a couple months and they’re down to about 80%. So if you want to put them in another box at your gate, that can work. I had a Smartsense Open/close in a large aluminum? mailbox about 200ft away, that was pretty cool - but the mailman objected.


(Mike) #3

I’m using a multi on my outdoor mailbox here in Denver. After about 6 months the battery is at 38%. I have a spare Aeon hidden sensor that I want to put on the gate that leads to the alley so maybe I’ll do that and report back.


(Dave O'Connell) #4

Ron, go to youtube and look up a product called Rustoleum Never Wet. there should be a video showing how they water proofed an iPhone. I cant speak to the temperature issues you may encounter but this should definitely help with water/ice intrusion.


(Nathan Jones) #5

I’ve had a open/close sensor on my gate going on it’s second winter now. As crazy as it sounds I used glad press’n seal cling wrap…wrapped it up tight, and then finished it off with a little strapping tape. I used a command strip to attach it to the wood, then shoo goo to make sure it stays put. I’ve only had to take it down in 1.5 years to put a battery in there 1 time! Now I don’t live as far north as you…I’m in Northwest Arkansas, but it recorded 1 degree for a 3 hour period 2 nights ago. If you open my gate between 10pm and 6am, or while we are gone the outdoor siren goes off…pretty sweet.


(Andrew Urman) #6

I would say generally you have to worry about moisture more than the cold. You would probably see a lower battery percentage, but if you warmed up the battery it would probably go up.

The cold shouldn’t effect range, but could theoretically screw up the hardware.


(Mike) #7

About 2 weeks ago I installed an Aeon hidden sensor in my outdoor gate and it’s worked fine through cold weather and snow. I didn’t do anything special to protect it other than leaving a gap at the bottom of the hole where the battery and electronics are located so water will drain from the hole if it somehow got caught in there. I used the battery that came with the device. The gate sensor is reporting 84% after 2 weeks whereas the door sensors are still reporting 100% and were installed a couple weeks earlier than the one at the gate. In addition to the outdoor location about 50 feet from the hub/closest device and the fact that it’s winter in Denver I’d say that’s expected. When I replace the battery (in about 2.5 months by the current trend) I’ll test with a Lithium one and see if that impacts battery life but of course by then the weather will be different so it won’t be an apples-to-apples comparison.


(Mike) #8

Quick update - I’m not sure what ST was thinking the other day when it said battery was at 84% but later that day it showed 100%. I decided to give it a few days and it still shows 100%, so even being outside in the cold hasn’t seemed to dramatically reduce the battery life.


(Brooke) #9

Thanks for this. Just ordered one for my gate. We’ll see if it survives a Canadian winter!


#10

It’s pretty easy to find contact sensors intended for garages that are made for weather extremes. Then you cable that to pretty much any zwave contact sensor and put the zwave contact sensor itself in a weatherproof relay box. Or maybe even run the cables indoors, depending on location. See the following discussion:


(Darin) #11

I’ve updated my post on how I solved my particular problem.


(S A ) #12

How about someone facing the opposite!!

We are reaching as hot as 50° :mask:


(Tyler Weaver) #13

I wrote an intractable about how I did this. Check it out here: https://www.instructables.com/id/ZWave-Exterior-Gate-Sensor/


(Josh547) #14

Great idea going to give it a try. Amazon has dry contact sensor for 229.00 OMG. Gotta go somewhere else.